Venue: Exe Room, Phoenix House
Contact: Sarah Lees Member Services Officer
Link: audio recording
APOLOGIES AND SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS
To receive any apologies for absence and notices of appointment of Substitute Members (if any).
Apologies were received from Councillors N V Davey and J M Downes.
PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
To receive any questions relating to items on the agenda from members of the public and replies thereto.
There were no members of the public present.
To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 15 October 2015 (copy attached).
The minutes from the meeting held on 15 October 2015 were confirmed as a true and accurate record and SIGNED by the Chairman.
ENFORCEMENT UPDATE (00:03:00)
To receive a verbal update from the Public Health and Professional Services Manager regarding any recent enforcement action.
The Licensing Enforcement Officer provided the following verbal update regarding recent and current enforcement action:
· Due to a licence expiring, a caution had been issued to a Private Hire Operator, however, due to personal circumstances the operator had not undertaken any official pre-booked journeys in the intervening period.
· Working in partnership with the Police, an exercise had been undertaken to randomly spot check licensed vehicles. Twenty nine vehicles had been inspected with only minor issues, such as blown bulbs, being reported. Feedback from the public had been positive. It was hoped that further checks would take place in the near future working jointly with the DVSA. It was suggested that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) could assist in future exercises of this nature.
· Evidence of possible cocaine use had been detected recently in pubs in Tiverton and Cullompton. Licensees had been advised to be extra vigilant.
To receive a report from the Head of Human Resources and Development. Mid Devon District Council has an adopted policy and set of conditions setting out how hackney carriage and private hire operations are regulated. This report puts forward an updated policy as the current one is due for review, having been in place for three years.
The Committee had before it a report * from the Head of Human Resources and Development putting forward an updated policy with regard to Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Operations. It was explained that certain key features needed to remain within the policy such as the importance of compulsory inspections and the age limit for vehicles (that is, they must be five years old or younger). However, the structure and layout of the policy needed updating and much more information needed to be supplied in order to better inform the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire sector. Essential information, such as conditions and dress code were now included as a set of appendices at the back of the policy. This would aid updating in the future. It was hoped that a small booklet would be produced in the near future summarising the key points.
In addition, the policy now included expanded sections in relation to the following:
· Detailed advice on how to apply for a licence;
· The aims and objectives of the licensing policy and the five core principles (“public safety” being the top priority);
· The policy now provided clearer guidance on how to determine whether an individual was a ‘fit and proper’ person to hold a licence. Driver’s had access to a lot of personal information such as where a person lived therefore the licensing authority needed to satisfy itself in this regard particularly;
· The use of e-cigarettes and vaporisers had been banned;
· There needed to be clearer information supplied by the applicant regarding previous convictions, arrests and cautions;
Three responses had been received in response to the consultation on the document. Some useful suggestions had be made with regard to the checking of MOT documents and as a result it was suggested that the policy be amended to make it clear that the MOT could be checked online by the Council and that drivers do not need to provide documentation, unless it was directly requested by the Council for some reason. In addition, following a further comment made by a consultee, it was suggested that, similar to the MOT system, the vehicle test could be conducted and submitted a maximum of 28 days early, preserving the original due date. The next vehicle test would then be due 6 months after the original due date saving a driver the loss of any time for having submitted the test early.
Discussion took place regarding:
· The importance of producing a summarised booklet although this needed to be printed in the most cost effective manner involving possible collaboration with other local authorities;
· The use of ‘Uber’. It was explained that this was an online vehicle dispatch company which allowed customers with smartphones to submit a trip request, via an app, which was then routed the ‘Uber’ drivers who used their own cars to pick customers up. Credit cards could be debited at source rather than having to exchange cash. However, there were some concerns about the safety of passengers and since the booking ... view the full minutes text for item 16.